Professional and amaetur photographers both look forward to National Geographic’s annual photography competition, which features great prizes and plenty of exposure for the art of photography. Let’s take a look at the 2017 winners.

To Live
Photographer: Hiromi Kano

Kan took this beautiful shot of swans gliding over the Japanese wetlands in Kabukurinuma, Osaki. The area is one of the rare protected wetlands still existing in Japan, and as such it has become a popular place for wintering birds. To capture the shot, Kano considered wind direction and shutter speed, pulling off a photograph that captures speed and movement in perfect clarity.

Marble Caves
Photographer: Clane Gessel

The photograph of this blue cave was taken in the Argentinian region of Patagonia. After driving for 10 hours, the photographer and his father chartered a boat to get closer to the marble caves. After hours of waiting for just the right light, Gessel snapped this shot of rock that is so swirled it resembles blue and white marble.

Forest of the Fairy
Photographer: Y. Takafuji

At first glance, this photo seems to show railroad tracks illuminated by mysterious lights. However, Takafugi’s photograph was taken in a remote Japanese village in the Forest of the Gods, where a stairway leads up to a small shrine. The lights are provided by fireflies. The mysterious Forest of the Gods contains seven statues honoring the shinto gods carved from ancient trees.

Mt. Bromo
Photographer: Reynold Dewantara

It’s hard to tell what this photo depicts: is it a bomb? An explosion? The answer is a combination of both. The photographer was at a nearby hotel when the active volcano known as Mt. Bromo exploded. The East Java, Indonesia volcano erupted just as Dewantara was waiting with his camera, inspired to capture the way the ashes were glowing with light.

Photographer: F. Dilek Uyar

A whirling dervish performs his mystical dance in an ancient building in Konya, Turkey. Konya is the final resting place of Rumi, and home to a famous Sufi order of whirling dervishes. Uyar uses black and white to demonstrate the man’s spiritual journey, which seems to find him about to take flight toward the heavens.

Interesting Moment
Photographer: Julius Y

Julius Y’s photograph captures an ironic moment where tourists are watching the men in this painting, as the painted men appear to be staring back. This is an interesting commentary on Rembrandt’s masterful painting, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, which is located at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The parallel is highlighted by the similar bald patterns on the men, which mirrors the similar hats worn by the people in the painting.

Under the Wave
Photographer: Rodney Bursiel

This shot perfectly captures the thrilling experience of riding a big wave. The photographer traveled to Fiji with a professional surfer, capturing this exciting image at Cloudbreak. The photograph almost resembles a painting, or a dream.

Levels of Reading
Photographer: Norbert Fritz

The incredible, light-filled interior of the Stuttgart city library is every reader’s fantasy. Fritz was able to convey the massive an unexpected interior by focusing on the stark floors, high ceilings, large windows and vast open spaces.

Walled City #08
Photographer: Andy Yeung

Yeung’s aerial view of Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, shows the remains of the Kowloon Walled City, which was once one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Now that the stacked houses have been demolished, the site has remade itself with stacked apartments and walls, designed for a modern Hong Kong’s aesthetic.

Henningsvær Football Field
Photographer: Misha De-Stroyev

Henningsvær football field is an amazing field located on a tiny island in Norway’s Lofoten Islands. The village is home to fewer than 500 people, but its football field is thought to be one of the greatest in Europe. The photographer captured this shot during a sailing trip. While on the open water, the photographer used a drone to see the entire stadium from a height of approximately 390 feet above the field.